Child Advocate Lawyer: Career Information and Education Requirements

Child advocate lawyers require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Child advocate lawyers are a positive voice for children in the legal system. Focusing in child advocacy law allows lawyers to defend the legal rights of children and help ensure that children's best interests are protected in the courtroom. Many states have an office of the child advocate that exists to promote child welfare in the courts. Child advocate lawyers work for state or local offices of the child advocate, non-profit organizations and independent law offices. A child advocate lawyer must meet the educational requirements to be a licensed attorney, which include earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) law degree.

Required Education Juris Doctor
Licensure/Certification State attorney licensure, optional certification by National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC)
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 10% for all lawyers*
Average Salary (2013) $131,990 annually for all lawyers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

A child advocate lawyer must meet the educational requirements to be a licensed attorney, including earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) law degree. Future lawyers who wish to specialize in child advocacy may complete coursework in family law, children and the law, criminal investigations, domestic violence and criminal defense. Most states have no additional education requirements for independent lawyers advocating for children, but a few states require child advocate lawyers to complete continuing education courses related to the well being of children. To be appointed as a guardian ad litem by the courts in some states, a child advocate lawyers may need to complete state-specific training or continuing education coursework.

The National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) has a certification available for attorneys. Child advocate lawyers who work in child welfare law and meet education and proficiency criteria established by the NACC, may become a Child Welfare Law Specialist (www.naccchildlaw.org).

Salary Information and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of lawyers will grow by 11% between 2012 and 2022, which is the national average job growth. The BLS also reported that the average annual salary for lawyers was $131,990 as of May 2013.

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